Phone scam targets residents

BEWARE: A phone scam is targeting Ballarat residents. Picture: Louie Douvis

BEWARE: A phone scam is targeting Ballarat residents. Picture: Louie Douvis

Ballarat residents have been contacted by a fake automated caller threatening to throw them in jail if they do not call a phone number purporting to be the Australian Tax Office.

The scam told residents there were warrants out for their arrest and they had to make the call immediately.

Mary Cornwell said she received the call and did not respond to it, but older people might be scared into calling the number back and handing over personal information.

“Imagine an 89-year-old getting this and being threatened there is a warrant out for their arrest,” she said.

“They would call straight back.”

Tricked Australians have handed over $1.5 million to fraudsters this year.

More than 17,067 scams have been reported this year.

The office will never threaten you with arrest, ask you to pay money for refunds, ask you to pay via iTunes vouchers, pre-paid credit card or store gift cards, nor ask you to pay money into a personal bank account.